A tooth coloured restoration (filling) is the composite resin used to repair a damaged tooth.

If, for example, your dentist needs to treat your cavity, the decayed portion of the tooth will be removed and the area from which that material was taken will have this restorative resin placed in it instead.

Tooth coloured restorations are also used to help repair cracked, broken or worn down teeth. This can be caused by trauma, nail biting, or tooth grinding, as but a few examples.

There are multiple reasons for using a tooth-coloured composite:

  • Aesthetic – Due to the fact that the composite restoration can be closely matched to the colour and shade of your natural teeth, it is well suited for use in areas or on teeth that are visible.
  • Bonding – Composite restorations bond to the tooth structure chemically, which provides a strong support to the tooth.
  • Versatility – Tooth coloured restorations are able to be used for a variety of treatments, including but not limited to decaying teeth, chipped teeth, broken teeth or worn down teeth.
  • Preparation –In cases where tooth structure needs to be removed, such as when there is decay, tooth coloured restorations allow for the minimal amount of the tooth to have to be removed.

Why would I need a temporary tooth restoration?

You might need a temporary restoration in one of the following circumstances:

  • After a root canal treatment.
  • To settle down a tooth’s nerve; when the pulp, which contains the nerve and carries the blood, becomes irritated.
  • In the event that emergency dental treatment is required. Restorations can often be used in the interim, before a permanent crown can be placed, in instances such as toothaches or broken teeth, for example.

What is involved in the restoration of a tooth?

  1. Your dentist will first numb the area of the mouth using a local anesthetic.
  2. The decayed area of the tooth, if necessary, will be removed using dental hand pieces and diamond burs.
  3. Your dentist will check that all of the decay has been removed by probing the affected area during the removal procedure and staining it with a decay-detecting agent.
  4. Then your dentist will clean the cavity of additional bacteria and debris in order to prepare the area for the restoration.
  5. The tooth coloured material is then applied in layers, with a special light that “cures”/hardens each layer as it is applied.
  6. Once the layering process is completed, your dentist will shape the composite material, trimming off any excess material, and polishing it accordingly. Once the final restoration is applied, your bite will then be checked to ensure that it is functioning properly.

What should I expect after a restoration?

Initially, you will experience numbness in the restored area for about 2 to 3 hours. During this time, take care not to bite or chew on the numb tissue.

If your restoration is a bit high you may experience some pain or discomfort. This can be adjusted with a 5-minute appointment with your dentist, during which the high point will simply be adjusted.

Depending on the situation, the tooth may be sensitive for anything from a single day to a few months. The reason for this is because of the composite contracting during the curing process. This will settle down in most instances; however, if it does not and the restoration is deep, then the nerve may die, meaning that a root canal treatment may then be required.

How can I care for my teeth and restorations?

The best way to care for your restoration is through good oral hygiene practices. This includes brushing twice daily with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, flossing at least once a day and regular visits to your dentist for a professional hygiene and exam appointment.

If however, you experience extreme sensitivity, detect a sharp edge, find a gap or notice a crack in the restoration, contact your nearest Dental O So Gentle Perth clinic for an appointment with your dentist.